June 26, 2007
Review by Cary Krosinsky
"Once Upon A Time"
I honestly don't think I've seen Bob any better than he was tonight
That was stunningly awesome
Much as I'd like to end the review there - here's a feeble attempt at
matching words to the timeless, eternal art portrayed this evening at
the amazing Pines Theatre, in Florence, Mass, near Northampton, this
year of 2007 AD.
Was all of a sudden blazing hot this afternoon on the way up, after a
long stretch of unseasonally moderate weather in this area - pushing 100
and humid today - enough to melt just about anything.
Listening to the relatively uninspired Hershey show on the way up, had
to turn it off before the end, as Bob clearly was going through the
motions. Perhaps hearing that 40+ people were arrested around the venue
bummed him out? At any rate, was hoping this wasn't a bad sign for
this evening, but that fear was mitigated in about 1 second. Would the
heat of the night stop Bob from playing well in a venue he clearly and
understandably admires? That also took about 1 second to answer, as Bob
& the Band, at around 8PM, just as the heat of the day started to fade
just enough, started into
1. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat
big & welcome surprise, tight and effective - perhaps Bob's new feathered
hat inspired him to choose this? best opener I've heard in ages
2. The Times They Are A-Changin'
was great here in 03 and again tonight - sung clearly and with a purpose
3. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight
solid & groovin
4. It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)
absolutely red hot
by this time it was clear that Denny was in a major groove, Bob meant
business, and he was oblivious to the weather
5. Every Grain Of Sand
unbelievable - quiet & poignant - would be the highlight of most shows,
except for what was to follow - Bob enunciating clearly wanting to get
this just right - Denny playing stunning, quiet solos, a must be heard
6. The Levee's Gonna Break
Bob switches to keys - band is red hot, Bob is all shiteating grins during
the jams - great version
7. Shelter From The Storm
stunning - all the bitterness and remorse is there from when he wrote the
song - jawdropping - only stunned silence was appropriate at song's end -
a gem for the ages
8. Things Have Changed
rockin' and hot, with the directly related Oscar perched and gleaming the
9. Masters Of War
this one was for Dick Cheney - bedazzzlingly current and stark - another
one for the ages
10. Tangled Up In Blue
Bob turned his back completely to the crowd for most of the first part of
the song - perhaps he swallowed a fly - there were many in the lights this
would have been fine if he messed this one up, as he was so on to this
point - but he rallied, and the song hit a major groove and was a big winner
they were all winners tonight - 100%
11. Desolation Row
fantastic - Bob was on fire here, you'll just have to here this one - a
lot of unique enunciations & successful new jam on the chorus & other new
12. Cry A While
out of left field, a completely new arrangement - sounded more like Takes
a Train - great to hear
13. When The Deal Goes Down
a bit more in the groove and better for it, I thought, as the song moves
away from being same old same old
14. Highway 61 Revisited
smokin swamp boogie red hot perfect closer
crowd goes nuts
15. Thunder On The Mountain
absolutely red hot
16. All Along The Watchtower
finally, only a really good version
and when did Denny become a guitar god - he was incredible - they kept
doing this very effective thing of Denny taking a nice lead, followed by
Bob & Donny doing a joint lead, with the 3 of the meshing together -
Bob's singing often was clear, melodic, enunciated, focused, stunning
after something like 40 shows including many great ones - this was the
Review by Larry Fishman
Well I guess you have to start with the shlep to Florence,
Massachusetts which is really Northhampton (also known as
Lesbianville USA) which is a good 97.92 miles on my mapquest from
suburban Boston. My friends think I'm crazy, but hey what am I going to
stay home for? To see Paris Hilton interviewed by Larry king? Yikes.
Anyway, I've seen Bob at this venue once before and it is certainly one
of the very nicest. Tomorrow's show at the Barren, souless Mohegan Sun
Casino will be the polar opposite. The Pines theatre is a lovely outdoor
ampitheatre located in Look Memorial Park. There were 15 or so rows of
seats and then a nice small hill for people to lay out. I had a tasty
burrito - which counts for alot in my book - all of the vendors were
independents from the local area and not part of some foodservice
The crowd was the usual mix - perhaps a tad more on the freaky side than
usual: plenty of baby boomers on their day out along with 20 somethings
who've figured out Saint Bob. I saw a few of my regular Dylan Friends,
along with my favorite unfriendly bootlegger as well as a fat chick in a
red dress with a Bjork Complex and an ugly shoulder tattoo of the
Grateful Dead or something.
The opening act, Sarabeth, offered up 20 minutes of ernest, pleasant but
unexceptional warm up. She sang some song that referenced killing
someone on highway 61 or something - I just hope she didn't write it
for the occasion. The sound quality was quite good, Bob looked resplendent
in a black suit with a Rose colored tie and a hat that looked Desire Era
without the feather. The Band was dressed iin their matching tan/brown
suits and everyone was wearing a hat except for Donnie Herron who seems
to be sporting whiskers these days. Ok, on to the show which started at
1. Leopard Skin Pill-Box Hat. First off, I was happy to not get
"Cat's in the Well" from "Under the Red Sky" which seems to have
gotten in recent years some revisionist praise. It's been quite some
time since I've seen Bob play a guitar and it was fun to see him legs
spread at the center mic hammering away. A more than fair start out of
2. The Times They Are-Changin' A Full electric sounding with Denny
Freeman's electric guitar leading the charge. I thought a nice solo,
he's really growing on me.
3. I'll Be Your Baby Tonight. Tony Garnier was hopping up and down,
ready & rarin' to go on this rock and roll version even before it began.
I think every time I see him, his pants get baggier and baggier. Quite
different from the country friend offerings of the last couple of tours,
this is rocked. All tricked out, though a bit sloppy at first with the
band tripping over each other's solos during the first instrumental break
while Mr. Dylan was plucking away at the keyboard. Bob was animated all
night, bobbing, swaying and jib jabbing.
4. It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding) A much faster version than the
most recent tapes that I have heard. Overall, this was a show with alot
of energy, Bob & the Cowboy band were in a hard rockin' mood this
evening. This was a barn burner and certainly blew out any of the
remainng cobwebs in Bob's throat. While he started the night singing a
tad hoarse and deep, from this point on he was relaxed, confident and on.
5. Every Grain of Sand. Began with a fairly long instrumental and was a
slightly more upbeat and snappy arrangement than the previous ones I have
6. The Levee's Gonna Break. The first M&T song of the night and my 9
year old, Sam's, favorite from album. It started a bit by the numbers,
but grew into a monster . The instrumentals turned into a great rave up
and they seemed to channel the ghost of Freddie Koella as the band jammed
to a peak. It really brought the crowd off it's feet as they cranked it!
7. Shelter From the Storm. Achingly beautiful. Soulful.
Stunning. Deep. Warm. Wise. Sweet. Low. Lovely. Hurtful.
Dangerous. Stark. Georgeus. A knockout.
8. Things Have Changed. A snappy, charmed take with more sharp
elbows and grizzle than previous takes. He does have the replica
oscar on stage that he won for the song so I suppose he's gotta play it.
Enjoyed it more than I expected.
9. Masters of War. A full, rich take - just so wicked and modern. Bob
felt every inch of the masterwork. Driven by Kimball on acoustic guitar,
one of the great pleasures of the evening. "I can see through your mask"
There is no Dylanism more true.
10. Tangled Up in Blue. After such a fantastic previous song, we
get a lackluster, disinterested crowd pleaser. I think most in the
audience were glad it was on the setlist, but Bob seemed listless and
dull and the band fed off of Bob and seemed bored. To my eyes and ears
it was strange to witness such a reversal after a couple of engaged
tunes. The harp solo at the end didn't redeem it, but it ateast saved it
from being a total waste. George Recelli, it should be said, played well
on the song. Strange: maybe my favorite Dylan song and I don't want to
hear it live.
11. Desolation Row Fortunately, the pace and intensity
immediately picked up for this opus. A song that would any other
performer's masterpiece is just another amazing work in the catalog. Bob
was phrasing so well and the band played, soft and quietly. A nice jam
at the end as Bob was his animated self. A better harp solo to boot.
12. Cry A While. Totally rearranged, now as a 4 bar blues song, so
different that I didn't recognize the song at first- hey can't we usually
name the tune just by the turning before the song begins. Bob was
swaying away and while this is noone's favorite rarity, it was bloody
13. When The Deal Goes Down. A nice and easy take that puts a smile to
my face as I think of the video starring Scarlet Johannsen - the best
looking jew. Ever.
14. Highway 61 Revisited. Maybe Bob' definition of a crowd
pleaser. Got awfully loud.
15. Thunder on the Mountain. Becoming the new "Summer Day's" with its
extended jamming and the audience doing the charleston or some such
16. All Along The Watchtower. Ahh, the night is over. All is well in
the world with another Dylan concert attended. No band introduction, in
fact not a spoken word spoken from our fearless leader. It's
Review by Schenectady Dan
Rollin through town on my way to the show, the bank clock/thermometer
said 101 degrees, and tonight the temperature rivaled the hot music from
the stage that flowed. I'm now into my 21st year of seeing Dylan, and
without a doubt, what I heard this evening was about as good as it gets!
It was simply put, a gorgeous performance. The opening Leopard Skin
Pillbox Hat rocked our socks off. Seeing and hearing Bob up front at
center stage on guitar was itself a treat, and he really can play that
thing! The band is such a tight, cohesive unit it is really to their
credit that they can follow Bob almost seemingly telepathically creating
such beautiful sounds. Times were a changing was delivered as the maestro
repeated more of the past in a new package that fit it like a glove. I'll
Be Your Baby Tonight was sweet and rocking, Its alright Ma blows me away
everytime with all that imagery flying by at a million miles an hour.Then
came yet another stunning performance of one of my personal
favorites, Every Grain of Sand. This song took me into a very
spiritual realm almost making me feel that rare feeling like I was right
where I belonged in this world, for a few moments anyways. Up next was
the first Modern times number, The Levees Gonna Break. the band really
upped the level some more with some really tasty playing especially from
Denny's guitar, and Bob's keyboard. Shelter From the Storm in its new
arrangement was superb from start to end, Dylan's voice so clear and up
front, beautifully embellished at all the right spots again from that
band. Things have changed was keeping with the evenings motif, hot!
Masters of War was mighty right, before a very dynamic, slightly revised
Tangled Up in Blue, which I saw brang tears to someones eyes near me.
Desolation Row kept building, more and more every verse and I was
really enjoying Bob's interesting keyboard playing here. I didnt
recognize Cry Awhile until Bob sang, but it was another great reworking
of a great song. When the Deal Goes Down sounded fantastic! Highway 61
rocked again like it does every time, before ending the set tonight.
Thunder and Watchtower ended with everybody screaming for more. Since
Bob never introduced the band tonight, I thought we might get one more,
but that bus quickly pulled away into the hot night. I really could not have
asked for more, Thanks Bob, and your crew, you guys are the best!!
Review by Ernie Pancsofar
In the Pines Theater at Look Park
Waitinı to see Dylan for a 7:30 start
But first there is Sarabeth Tucek to hear
Not too familiar with her work and itıs clear
Sheıs hot as she plays in this 95 degree heat
As she thanks Bobıs crew for their help from her seat
And she sang about Highway 61
After a few more songs her set was done.
Sixteen songs comprised this eveningıs show
Iıll give just a brief impression as I prepare to go
To Uncasville for tomorrow nightıs venue
And review my notes both old and new.
First he opened with Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat
None of figured this song for that
Beginning slot where Catıs in the Well
Had been each previous setıs opening bell.
My personal highlights consisted of two of Bobıs songs
When Desolation Row and Things Have Changed came along.
When I saw Donnie on his mandolin I remembered last year
When his personal mark on this song did appear.
But this show his presence was far down in the mix
Instead Denny Freeman had some great licks.
Bob said many words in his quick, staccato voice
Des-O-La-Tion Row was his emphasis of choice.
Things Have Changed was a great choice too
As his Oscar award was presently in view
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts
My 10th show contained shows that could spark
My feelings, imagination and memories in kind
Dylanıs the background music for my soul and mind.
Iım thankful for his unique gift
He has in his songs the power to lift
My thoughts and feelings and make new connections
In my work, in my life . . . in my daily reflections.
Once again I leave a Dylan show quite satisfied
At 66 heıs still quite dignified!
Review by Roger Catlin
Summer means seeing at least a couple of Bob Dylan shows in the area. And
the last couple of years, it also meant minor league ballparks, and
rockin' in the outfield while the rocker in a cowboy suit would lean over
his keyboard and lead his band. But as they say, things have changed.
Gone are the ballparks this time around, traded for a variety of indoor
and outdoor venues. The two he's playing Tuesday and Wednesday are quite a
contrast - the perfectly woodsy Pines Theatre in Western Massachusetts and
the cavernous Mohegan Sun casino arena in Southeast Connecticut.
The bigger change, though, is that he's playing guitar again - for the
first time on tour in five years. Not since he played for Bobby Vee in
Duluth and had a different name did Dylan spend fulltime on keyboards, and
yet that's what he's been doing these past years, for a reason I have yet
to find, blowing in the wind or not.
Since his spring European tour, he's been starting his shows with a
handful of songs on electric guitar - a welcoming sight for old fans who
have always associated him with that instrument - plugged or unplugged.
It may be more of a visual wish fulfillment than a musical one, though. I
forgot how much his headstrong, sometimes wrongheaded solos can throw a
wrench into the very well oiled machine that is his band (which now goes
without any onstage introductions whatsoever).
He wrote in his "Chronicles, Volume One," he used to figure out his
guitar solos mathematically, which led to all those strange shows in the
90s. Anyway, the visual was still pretty strong, and he couldn't do much
to derail a roaring locomotive of a set Tuesday.
Instead of "Cat's in the Well," with which he's been opening shows for a
year now, he switched to "Leopard-Skin Pillbox Hat," a tune that spoke to
the sartorial choices of his band - now in matching tan Western suits and
hats; Dylan himself is in black suit topped by a flat-brimmed cream hat
like the one he wore on "Desire," minus the flower arrangement in the
"The Times They Are A-Changin," chugged along led by electric guitar, with
Donny Herron leavening things on pedal steel, even more so on good timey
"I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" that followed. I'd like to think that Dylan's
been playing "It's Alright Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)" on every American stop
so far this tour because of its prominence in the final episode of "The
Sopranos" early this month. It's the song A.J. is marveling at just before
his SUV goes up in flames.
But he's been playing it every show since spring, too, in a perkier less
brooding arrangement that does nothing to blunt the impact of its words.
That line "even the president of the United States sometimes has to stand
naked" has been getting whoops for being oddly prophetic for eight
And speaking of politics, "Masters of War," it is sad to report, is
every bit as timely today as it was in 1963, encased in an arrangement
that may be its most effective yet.
Part of its potency had to do with the sound quality. Whether it was
because of the outdoor setting, the humid night or the excellence of the
sound crew (or all three), rarely has Dylan been so clearly heard. With
the two guitarists in the band now organized such that Denny Freeman takes
most of the electric leads, Stu Kimball more often takes acoustic guitar,
lending an unplugged authenticity to many songs and, more crucially, the
ability to quiet them down at any point to let the words have further
And every time the band employed these dynamics, the Northampton crowd,
bless their hearts, got quiet along with them and took in the words in the
beautiful setting, with the sunset leading to hushed wooded darkness and
the punctuation of fireflies. When he played "Every Grain of Sand," it was
Two songs from "Blood on the Tracks," in quite different arrangements
showed how well that masterpiece holds up, even as he changed the details
in the songs (the woman in "Tangled Up in Blue" works at the Tropicana and
goes to Atlanta; the other, "Shelter from the Storm" reflects an indelible
situation at more of an emotional distance that approaches wistfulness.
Even more welcome were the songs from "Modern Times" - he played
Connecticut on his latest album's release date, he wasn't playing
anything from it yet. And though he had started to, by the time he
returned to the region in November, by now he's adding songs that hadn't
yet been heard live here.
"The Levee's Gonna Break" is a monster live, living in the same
wheelhouse of course as his other great levee songs like "Down in the
Flood." "Cry a While" live is an improvement over the recording, as is
"When the Deal Goes Down" is a pleasant change of pace that's no longer
stuck in nostalgia. Best of all is "Thunder on the Mountain" with its
funny and offhand lines wondering the whereabouts of Alicia Keys (she was
at the BET Awards, Bob).
Paired in the encore with a more succinct, less bombastic "All Along the
Watchtower" spelled the difference between a sentry and an invader. Can't
wait until tonight's show.
Review by Jeff Kurtzman
Others have offered a song by song description so I won't. I will just say I've
seen 16 Dylan shows in the last 5 years and this was the BEST. Every song was
played masterfully, new arrangements were fresh and interesting, Bob was in
good voice and the most animated I've seen him, pointing at the crowd,
clapping his hands and laughing. The both rocked furiously and swayed
gracefully as each song called for. If you are thinking about going to a show,
do whatever you have to do and go---today is the day to grab your trombone
One side note: People in the audience who not only sit down for the whole
show but try to get security to enforce everyone else sitting down. I wonder
if they feel any sense of irony doing that while Bob sings "The old road is
rapidly fading, get out of the new one if you can't lend a hand..." Perhaps
some people need to buy a Bob DVD and watch sitting on the couch...
Nevertheless, most of the audience was into the show and Bob rewarded
them handsomely. THANKS, BOB!
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